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  • BrainwreckedTech 12:28 am on August 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: deathsmiles ii x, , f2p, gotham city imposters, , japan import, mmo, multi-player, rpg, shmup, shooter, single-player, , trouble witches neo, , xbox 360, xbox live arcade   

    (Mostly) Asian Persuasion (3 XBLA + 1 F2P MMO mini-review) 

    It’s been a long time.  How have you been?  I’ve been really busy….playing video games.  So much so that I realize there was a 2-month gap in my posts.  Well, I guess if I had nothing better to write about during that time, I should indulge you with some of the things that have pilfered my free time.

    Something that came to mind while writing these mini-reviews is the argument over whether or not the Japanese video gaming industry is declining.  I came to the realization that the answer is both yes and no — the mainstream industry is rotting while the small devs and indies are picking up the ball.  Just like it is here in the States.  Hence, the title of the article and the inclusion of one non-Asian game.

    Deathsmiles II X

    Deathsmiles II X First up is Deathsmiles II X.  If you’re unfamiliar with bullet hell shmups, I suggest you also take a look at Triggerheart Exelica as well.

    The fun in the Deathsmiles series isn’t beating the game — that’s relatively easy with unlimited continues and 3 selectable difficulties for each stage.  The challenge is in mastering the scoring system.  Of course part of that mastery lies in playing on the hardest setting and not getting hit, but haven’t we had enough insanely difficult games where getting anywhere is next to impossible?

    The devs certainly thought so and have toned down things a bit in this incarnation. The slowdown in Deathsmiles II X is more prevalent. Getting the true final boss Pigeon Blood Jitterbug in DS2X is a snap.  Level  1 (Easy) can now be selected all the way through the game instead of just 3 stages.  And the penalty to your item counts for getting hit is slashed in half — from 50% is DS1 to 25% in DS2.

    Just because penalties and hoops have been reduced doesn’t mean getting billions of points is any easier.  A hit is still ultra-damning to your final score and finishing off each boss with the homing shot to get Jitterbug leaves you wide open.  You’ll have to work for your 6 billion point achievement, and you’ll have to work even more if you want to score anywhere near 150 billion point mark of the top players on the leader board.

    One thing to note with this game is that Cave experimented with 3D with Deathsmiles II.  Cave is well-known for some of the most gorgeous 2D sprite-based shooters, and they didn’t quite pull it off graphics-wise with Deathsmiles II.  However, with 720P the 3D of DS2 gets a B.  (Compared to the lower-res arcade version which gets a C by comparison.)

    Speaking of Arcade, that mode is a little messed up on the 360 version.  Initially Cave wasn’t even going to bother, but decided to try and stuff it in at the last minute.  Whereas as the the new 360 and Arrange modes have more slowdown than the original arcade version, the Arcade version on the 360 has less.  The incoming enemy markers are also missing.  And there are no leader boards.

    The biggest ding against this game comes on its price tag of $30. I don’t suppose the fact that this was a retail disc release in Japan makes that pill any easier to swallow.  Especially seeing as how we get absolutely ZERO translation.  That’s  right — ZERO translation. Whatever you see in English in this game was already in English.  Brush up on your Google-fu.

    Afterthought: You may opt to go for the original Deathsmiles NA release, which can be picked up used on Amazon for as little as $19 including shipping.

    Trouble Witches Neo

    Trouble Witches NeoNext up is Trouble Witches Neo.  If it isn’t obvious by now, I’m a schmup fan.  (More precisely, a previously-dormant schmup fan.)  As with Deathsmiles, beating the game is no sweat on Easy with unlimited continues.  The challenge is the high score.

    One thing to note is that this game has HORRENDOUS English voice acting.  Consider half of your $15 purchase to be the entertainment value you can derive from that alone.  Here’s the kicker:  You’re going to HAVE to play with the English voice acting if you want to know what the bosses are saying since there are no English subtitles if you chose to enable the original JP voice acting.

    The most interesting thing about this game is that it started life on the PC and its creator is very anti-Touhou.  Aside from that?  There’s actually a tutorial and a this game is translated, so it might be an easier pill to swallow than Deathsmiles II X.  Then again, this game brings back the difficulty that DS2X leaves out, meaning beginners aren’t going to be able to count the continues with their fingers and toes alone.

    Gotham City Impostors

    Gotham City ImpostorsHey, we’re still shooting things here, but at least it’s not a shmup and the characters are actually able enter into legal agreements!  The best way to describe Gotham City Impostors is with an analogy: GCI is to Call of Duty multi-player as Outlaw Golf is to Tiger Woods PGA Tour.  In other words, a completely farcical take on the genre that has a surprising amount of depth and thought put into it that can actually put the big guy to shame.

    The back story makes no sense — a variant of Joker Gas is turning people into Batman and Joker wannabes — and serves little more than to give a flimsy excuse to set up team of Bats and Jokerz.  There are pre-defined load-outs for Medic, Scout, Soldier, and what-not, but you can either tweak these to your liking or roll your own.  (One of the common ones I saw was a mostly-Soldier load-out save for the megaphone — a soldier that could be a healer in a pinch.)

    It’s hard NOT to like this game unless you like to take your games too seriously.  If so, please stick with your Call of Duties and Halos.

    Dungeon Fighter Online

    Dungeon Fighter OnlineThe final entry, and the game I’m currently playing, is Dungeon Fighter Online.  Take Final Fight (or Streets of Rage), then add swords, guns, magic, a juggle-happy combo system, a fantasy setting, RPG elements, and some MMO.

    Did I mention that it’s Free 2 Play, and that you really don’t have to party with anyone if you don’t want to (though it helps if you do)?

    Dungeon Fighter Online has taught me where Phantasy Star Universe has failed so hard.  While both games have you running “dungeons” over and over again, DFO actually gives you a reason to do so (even if it’s something as simple as collecting items, defeating a certain number of a particular enemy, or clearing harder difficulty levels).  DFO’s dungeons are more organized in difficulty, meaning you’re not running all over the game world for harder missions as you level up.  (Counterpoint: Sometimes you’ll be running all over the world for quests pertaining to a particular dungeon.)  While the organized dungeons all but eliminate the need for a centralized party system, DFO has one anyway, as well as a centralized auction system.  And lastly, there’s always some special event (common in F2P), unlike Sega and PSU.

    One word of warning: Although the game is very keyboard-centric, and the game itself does include a bit of game pad support, you may wish to use a program like Joystick 2 Mouse to map a controller to keyboard presses and/or mouse movements yourself.  Reason being: The game itself only supports one joystick, leaving out any secondary joystick and/or D-pad you might have.

     
  • BrainwreckedTech 7:33 am on March 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , metro, , , , windows 8, windows ce, windows mobile, windows phone, xbox 360   

    History Repeats Itself With Metro. 

    Windows 8 Logo There’s been a lot of vitriol over WP7 and Metro as of late.  And a lot of doom and gloom predictions to go along with that hate.  To plagiarize Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw a bit, the masses are totally totally right…almost.  The reason I agree, however, is a reason that I don’t see brought up often if at all — that shoe-horning an interface for one type of device onto another type of device is never guaranteed to work.

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  • BrainwreckedTech 3:04 pm on January 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dvd drive, , , , , , xbox 360   

    Why Original Xbox 360 DVD Drives Fail 

    Xbox 360 Logo

    By now, everyone knows that the original Xbox 360 fails due to over-heating issues. Those that have ventured inside (or seen pictures or videos of those that have) know that criminally small GPU heat sink also played a role. And the introduction of the Xbox 360 Slim revealed another piece of the puzzle — the original Xbox 360s won’t shut themselves down if they get too hot.

    But have you ever wondered why the DVD drives fail? (More …)

     
  • BrainwreckedTech 8:08 pm on January 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rrod, , xbox 360   

    Just In Case You Think Xbox 360 Elite Systems Are Immune 

    Xbox 360 Elite RRoD

    This nasty little surprise hit me 5 days ago.

     
  • BrainwreckedTech 6:15 am on March 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , xbox 360   

    REVIEW: Left 4 Dead 2 

    Left 4 Dead 2 Cover

     
    (out of 5)
     
    Xbox 360 / PC

    Some people are going to hate me for this, but I don’t care. Left 4 Dead 1 had that awesome mix that landed it somewhere between casual and hardcore gaming. Left 4 Dead 2 can be just as addictive as the original, but there are some glaring issues when compared to the first. It feels like Valve listened to all the hardcore gamers verbatim and didn’t stop to think if any of the changes would actually be more fun.

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  • BrainwreckedTech 4:05 am on April 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , xbox 360   

    A Disappointing 7th Generation 

    Wii Logo Half
    Xbox 360 Logo Half PS3 Logo Half

    It’s too early to call an end to the current generation of consoles, but after 3½ years I think it’s safe to give a run down on how things have gone. Wrong, that is. Sure, the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii all came in with a bang but I feel as if we’re hanging on to thin air here.

    (More …)

     
    • Chaco 7:59 pm on August 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      oh how i do enjoy these. idk why but they’re fun to read even though i knew most of the information in this one haha.

      if anything though it seems like they shouldnt have rushed the 360 out just to beat the competition out of the gates.

      but whatevs mine still has yet to break down and give me 3 red rings even though it cant read discs for shit anymore.

      oh i left you another comment on the triggerheart excelica page too as doodoo head lool

    • Yanis 10:36 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hello… Late reply, I know… :)

      The reason we’re facing such a large chuck of crap on today’s console is the exact same reason you mentioned… Developers can do whatever they want with the hardware… With this “ease of use” comes another breed of developers… The one-time only’s… The simple guy who tries to develop a game/utility/whatever, spews out some sh*tty thing, then goes on his way to other “endeavours”…

      We can see the exact same phenomenon in the music industry, IMHO… There’s a lot of total crap in that space that’s either done: 1 – By somebody having access to a synthetizer or a computer and a boatload of samples, 2 – By somebody who’s only goal in this is to make some fast ca$h…

      Fortunately, it’s not the case for everybody.. There are some people that still shine in there… But they’re submerged in a sea of content, that’s it’s sometimes difficult to see them… Dilution of talent, in a way…

  • BrainwreckedTech 10:32 pm on April 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , xbox 360   

    Xbox 360 Goes Boom A Third Time 

    Xbox 360 Logo An Xbox 360 asplodes — I know, stop the presses.

    This one was a bit of a surprise. Unlike 360 Pro #2, 360 Pro #3′s DVD drive just gave up the ghost with a snap of its fingers. I was playing Rock Band 2 on the Pro one night and falling back on my backup Elite console the next.

    The greatest thing is that the console is one month removed from its one-year hardware warranty.

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  • BrainwreckedTech 12:39 pm on March 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , square-enix, , xbox 360   

    REVIEW: Final Fantasy XI 

    final_fantasy_xi_vanadiel

     
    (out of 5)

    XBox 360 version reviewed

    Let’s start with what I don’t have a problem with first, in case people thing I’m some sort of hack ‘n’ slash noob that could never hope to appreciate a game like this. I don’t have a problem with taking on single enemies that could outright kill me, forcing me to pick a chose my targets. I don’t have a problem being forced to form a party to take on certain tasks. I don’t have a problem with the EXP penalty incurred if you die. The GM’s are courteous and present, and unlike some other games (*cough* Phantasy Star *cough*), active and helpful. The non-instanced, ever-concurrent nature of the game allows for plenty of one-off help from random strangers. The recently-introduced level-syncing system serves as a great incentive for higher-levels to help lower-levels. The auction house system is great, albeit a bit strange for newcomers.

    So Final Fantasy XI definitely has what it takes to be a decent, maybe even great game. However…

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  • BrainwreckedTech 6:54 pm on February 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capcom, , , , , , , xbox 360   

    REVIEW: Street Fighter IV 

    sf4-cover

     
    (out of 5)
     
    XBox 360 version reviewed

    The 2nd-shortest way to describe the gameplay in Street Fighter IV would be, “Take Super Street Fighter II Turbo, keep all the good ideas from SF3 and Alpha (quick-standing, dashing forward and back, EX Moves, cancels), dump the bad ones (parrying, air blocking, high jumps, turn-around stuns), and thrown in a few extra bits of awesome (focus attacks and ultra combos).” What you get is something that feels more like a sequel to Street Fighter II than Street Fighter III was, with the emphasis of the old chess-like strategy over stringing together long, flashy combos.

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  • BrainwreckedTech 2:39 am on December 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , harmonix, , , , , , , xbox 360   

    Guitar Hero World Tour Vs. Rock Band 2 

    ghwt-vs-rb2 This holiday season brings us two band-based rhythm games: Guitar Hero World Tour, featuring the name that started this crazy thing, and Rock Band 2, from the people that actually did the coding behind what started this crazy thing. With the economy in a hole, where should you splurge your hard earned cash?

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    • Nigel Tufnagel 10:31 pm on December 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Can I hook up a Guitar Hero 1 guitar to a Rock Band? What do I need to buy to accomplish?

      Thanks!

      Nigel

      • brainwreckedtech 5:18 pm on December 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

        I think so, but compatibility has never been officially stated. As far as what both companies promise, backwards compatibility only exists within franchises. Harmonix attempted compatibility with 3rd party controllers, but there were some problems with the GH3 Les Paul Gibson guitar that Activision attempted to block (and made themselves look like a bunch of pricks in the process). There was never any directly-stated attempt for GH1 or GH2 instrument compatibility, though I don’t know why it couldn’t be done as I don’t think the controllers changed all that much from GH1 to GH3, and only the Les Paul gets mention of initial incompatibility with Rock Band 1.

        In this case, a rental is your best bet. If you don’t have a local outlet for game rental you could always sign up for a trial period at GameFly.

    • Matt 3:14 am on January 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Does anyone know if the RB2 guitars are the same as the GH:WT guitars when it comes to solos, meaning can you just tap the top notes without strumming or do you have to go up the neck like in RB1?

      • brainwreckedtech 8:39 pm on January 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I wouldn’t image Rock Band 1 forcing you to use the solo buttons near the base of the neck as compatibility with Guitar Hero guitars was a goal and Guitar Hero had no equivalent at the time. I know Rock Band 2 doesn’t force you to — Rock Band guitar or third party. Although there’s an achievement you won’t be able to get unless you have a Rock Band guitar — Flawless Guitar Solo (100% a guitar solo on Expert, using only the solo buttons) for 25G.

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